Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and other cereals, while casein is the protein found in dairy.
Gluten and casein, when not tolerated, can cause an inflammatory response that can create digestive disturbances, poor nutrient absorption, moodiness, as well as pain and many other physical, mental, and behavioral challenges.
These proteins can be problematic for children with autism, as often their digestive system is impaired and unable to deal with these proteins.
Research shows gluten intolerance is a factor in depression, anxiety, ADHD, and schizophrenia. And there are a number of studies on the opiates in autism, a decrease in GI symptoms on a GFCF diet, and a reduction in autistic symptoms with a GFCF diet.
If the proteins are not properly digested, they can become opiate compounds, fit in the opiate receptor of the brain, and mimic other opiates like morphine. This opiate effect can directly influence the brain and result in symptoms similar to morphine—foggy thinking, insensitivity to pain, opiate addiction and withdrawal, and irritability. inattentiveness, constipation, and more. This can not only have an effect on your child’s moods and cognitive function, but are very addictive, often causing an intense food preference – or cravings – for wheat and dairy foods like bread, milk, and cheese, This can make meal times challenging and picky eating habits a real struggle for any parent.
Soy has the same properties and challenges as gluten and casein, including the difficult-to-digest protein and opiates, so soy is removed on a GFCF diet as well.
Gluten-Free, Casein-Free, Soy-Free (GFCFSF) Diet
A gluten-free, casein-free, and soy-free diet, can help reduce:
- ADHD symptoms
- Autism symptoms
- Anxiety and depression
- Tummy aches
- Diarrhea and constipation
- Congestion and sleep apnea
- Picky eating
A gluten-free diet is also used with Down Syndrome as a larger percentage of people with this condition, also have Celiac disease (as well as non-celiac gluten intolerance).
Parents typically begin dietary intervention with the GFCFSF diet. I’ve found it one of the most effective ways to begin.
The GFCF diet avoids all foods containing gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, and commercial oats, and casein, the protein found in dairy.
There are many new commercially available products and recipes, making it easier than ever to go GFCF.
Some of the foods to avoid (sources containing offending proteins) are obvious. You’ll need to avoid any breads, crackers, pasta, or bakery items made with wheat and other gluten grains, and any dairy foods such as milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, and cream from any animals. But some sources can be sneaky and/or may contain undisclosed (gluten or casein-containing) ingredients, i.e:
- Soy sauce (except gluten-free)
- Potato chips and fries (often dusted with gluten during processing, may not be listed)
- Malt (derived from barley)
Use my GFCF Success Guide to plan and implement the GFCF diet for your child:
- Gluten and casein-foods to avoid
- GFCF alternatives
- Meal ideas
- Further GFCF tips (avoiding cross-contamination, using supplementation)
Your child is unique and so are their diet and nutritional needs. Learn how personalized nutrition can help your child today. Download our guide: “12 Nutrition Steps to Better Health, Learning, and Behavior.”
Explore our GFCFSF recipes below. Be sure to read all of the instructions before beginning in case diet-compliant substitutions are described in the introduction.
Gluten-Free, Casein-Free and Soy-Free Recipes
We continue the food and garden chronicles here at Nourishing Hope. Our garden, to say the very least, has been a place of comfort, fun, learning, memories, and deliciousness for me and my family. I know there can be some intimidation around starting a garden. But...
Most dads love a good barbeque. If you’re a dad planning a barbeque, or a mom creating a fun day for the dad in your family’s life, I’ve got some ideas for you! When you think of BBQ, I’m sure most of you are thinking of meat. But vegetables can be delicious on the...
GFCF/SCD/GAPS/LOD, Nut-free Ingredients ¼ cup, (plus 1 Tablespoon) coconut flour ¼ teaspoon unrefined salt ¼ teaspoon baking soda 4 large or 5 medium pastured eggs (room temperature) 2 Tablespoons of coconut milk or other diet compliant non-dairy milk 1 teaspoon...
GFCF/SCD/GAPS/Paleo/LOD/BED/Keto Diet Compliance Sauerkraut is wonderful for digestion and the immune system. It’s also beneficial for our mood. Sauerkraut is made with fermented or cultured cabbage and other vegetables. When they are made raw, the traditional way,...
Our family loves kale chips, including my daughter. And not only are the delicious, they are very nutritious. Kale is the cruciferous, or brassica family, along with other powerhouse foods like broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Kale Nutrition Kale...
If you have planted a garden, by the time summer is in full swing, zucchini and summer squash are often so abundant that you just don’t know what to do with them all. These are simple refrigerator pickles, so there’s no expertise in canning necessary and no fuss....
How time flies! 9 years ago, my daughter Ruby was born. Today, she’s baking her own birthday cakes. She loves cooking shows like Masterchef Junior and has been inspired to do her own cooking and baking. After watching the show, I realized how capable children can be...
I like to have lots of veggies on hand throughout the year, and we love beets! Beets are excellent for our digestive health. Beets help the liver and gallbladder by thinning the bile, making it much easier to digest and assimilate healthy fats in our diet. Beets are...
Contains Dairy. You can make this GFCFSF and Paleo, use coconut cream. This recipe is perfect when you cannot have any sugar in your diet. And the cream adds the perfect mouth feel for a dessert treat that is very satisfying for those on a sugar-free or...
Your kids will love smoothies – even green ones! One thing I ALWAYS talk about at live presentations is smoothies. Smoothies are one of the best tools in your “add good nutrition” learning toolkit – particularly when you want to get kale in....